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Self-Publishing

There’s a hand-wringing article in TBM today about how An Important Literary Writer is giving up on traditional publishing and going Lulu.

Normally, I quite like the Goodnight Gutenberg blog – it’s a top notch source of explanation for many strange industry things. But the tone of this struck me as odd. Maybe I’m just a newbie hack here, but a few things come to mind:

- If “important” gets too far away from “a good story well told,” we should not be shocked when “important” doesn’t “sell.”

- Self-publishing on Lulu is all very well when you’ve built a reputation and a degree of fame using the resources of a traditional publisher and their marketing department, but I suspect someone like, say, me wouldn’t get as far. I grow weary of the ignorant talking about self-publishing as though it were already a viable alternative to traditional publishing in terms of finding a market and building an audience. Maybe someday it will be, I don’t know, but it’s not there now.

- Lulu’s VIP package sounds a lot like some of the services of a traditional publisher to me, only, you have to pay for them.

- I have every intention of self-publishing my own backlist someday. When I have a backlist, acquired via… a traditional publisher. Should that day ever arrive, I hope I’m not so important as to sneer at the mechanism that allowed me the freedom to self-publish.

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